In case you missed it, news broke yesterday that former vice president Al Gore and his wife Tipper are separating. Sure, break-ups for Hollywood and Washington couples alike usually aren’t unexpected. But this particular story was sort of shocking- the Gores have been married for forty years.
Politics aside, it’s sad to see such a long relationship come to a close. And these two, Al and Tipper, have been through a lot together. They met at his senior prom, all the way back in 1965. When Al attended Harvard, Tipper followed him to Boston and soon enrolled at Boston University. He eventually proposed as the pair walked by the Charles River, and in 1970 they married in Washington. Less than a year later, Al was sent to Vietnam. After he returned, they worked at The Tennessean in Nashville and began raising their family.
At 28, Al Gore was elected to Congress and the family moved back to Washington. Gore was generally successful in politics: although he ran two unsuccessful presidential campaigns, he served as VP for eight years under Bill Clinton. In 1989, the Gores’ young son was almost killed in a car accident, and ultimately the family grew closer. (So close in fact, that Al and Tipper shared an infamous kiss at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.) It was like a Nicholas Sparks novel.
They seemed like a real, loving couple, especially when compared to the tumultuous relationship between the Clintons. But now the Gores are the ones separating. After 40 years.
The Gores announced their separation in an e-mail to friends and family, calling it a “mutually supportive decision that we have made together.” According to the statement they “grew apart.” There have been no reports of extramarital affairs, which is refreshing considering the reputation of many politicians. Still, it’s disheartening that a long-term relationship has come to end after overcoming so much.
Clearly, I’ve thought a lot about this development. I’m the first to admit that I’m a cynic when it comes to relationships, but this story just reminds me that romance and marriage aren’t what they used to be. I think it’s crazy to separate after forty years- how do you recover from that? Is there any hope at all for the rest of us? At the same time, I admire the Gores for being courageous enough to admit it was time for them to move on.
What do you think? How do you think the former couple is handling the situation? Is this even a relevant news story? What about the media’s apparent fascination with public couples splitting?